NAMIBIA’S GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS
Namibia is situated between the Namib and the Kalahari deserts and therefore bears it’s name from the Namib desert (the name Namib is of Nama origin and means “vast place”), and is considered to be the oldest desert in the world. With the Atlantic ocean on the west, Angola and Zambia in the north, Botswana on the east, and South Africa in the south and east. There is a small section between Zambia and Botswana, known as the Namibia-Zambia-Botswana tripoint that almost borders Zimbabwe from Namibia by approximately 100 meters.
Namibia is renowned for it’s breathtaking landscapes, and large empty spaces. The Namibian landscape consists generally of five geographical areas, each with characteristic abiotic conditions ( all non-living components of an ecosystem) and vegetation: the Central Plateau, the Namib Desert, the Great Escarpment, the Bushveld, and the Kalahari Desert.
The Central Plateau runs from north to south, bordered by the Skeleton Coast to the northwest, the Namib Desert and its coastal plains to the southwest, the Orange River to the south, and the Kalahari Desert to the east. The Central Plateau is home to the highest point in Namibia at Königstein.
The Namib Desert is a broad expanse of hyper-arid gravel plains and dunes that stretches along Namibia’s entire coastline. Areas within the Namib include the Skeleton Coast and the Kaokoveld in the north and the extensive Namib Sand Sea along the central coast.
The Great Escarpment swiftly rises to over 2,000 metres (6,562 ft). Although the area is rocky with poorly developed soils, it is significantly more productive than the Namib Desert.
The Bushveld is found in north eastern Namibia along the Angolan border and in the Caprivi Strip. The area receives a significantly greater amount of precipitation than the rest of the country. The area is generally flat and the soils sandy, limiting their ability to retain water.
The Kalahari Desert, an arid region shared with South Africa and Botswana, is one of Namibia’s well-known geographical features. The Kalahari, while popularly known as a desert, technically non-desert areas. One of these, known as the Succulent Karoo, is home to over 5,000 species of plants, nearly half of them endemic. Approximately 10 percent of the world’s succulents are found in the Karoo due to the relatively stable nature of precipitation.
Namibia’s Coastal Desert is one of the oldest deserts in the world. Its sand dunes, created by the strong onshore winds, are the one of the highest in the world (Dune 7 – in the Erongo region). Because of the location of the shoreline – at the point where the Atlantic’s cold water reaches Africa – there is often extremely dense fog. Namibia has rich coastal and marine resources that remain largely unexplored.
NATIONAL PARKS OF NAMIBIA
Etosha National Park: The park is located in the Kunene region and shares boundaries with the regions of Oshana, Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa. Etosha National Park spans an area of 22,270 square kilometres and gets its name from the large Etosha pan which is almost entirely within the park. The Etosha pan covers 23% of the area of the total area of the Etosha National Park. The park is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including several threatened and endangered species such as the black rhinoceros.
Waterberg National Park: The park is in central Namibia on the Waterberg Plateau, 68 kilometres south-east of Otjiwarongo. The plateau and the national park are named after the prominent table mountain that rises from the plateau, the Waterberg. The Waterberg Plateau is a particularly prominent location, elevating high above the plains of the Kalahari of Eastern Namibia. The Waterberg now supplies other Namibian parks with rare animals. The Waterberg Plateau National Park is ecologically diverse and rich and has over 200 different species of bird with some rare species of small antelope on the lower hills of the mountain. Geologically, the oldest rock stratum is over 850 million years old and dinosaurs tracks were left there some 200 million years ago.
Skeleton Coast National Park: The National park is situated in northwest Namibia, and has the most inaccessible shores, sprawled with shipwrecks. The park is divided into a northern and southern section, the southern section is open to those with 4 wheel drive vehicles, they are allowed to go up (north) as far as the Ugab River Gate (where a sign with a skull and crossbones warns you to go no further). The northern section can only be reached by a fly-in safari.
Dorob National Park: The park is in the Erongo region, and extends from the Kuiseb Delta (south of Walvis Bay), north to the Ugab River, and west from the Atlantic Ocean to what was before the National West Coast Tourist Recreation Area. Some 75 species of birds flock to this coast, with nearly 1.6 million birds recorded on the coast.
Nkasa Rupara National Park: Formerly Mamili National Park. It is centered on the Nkasa and Rupara islands on the Kwando/Linyanti River in the south-western corner of East Caprivi. Botswana lies to the west, south and east, and Sangwali village to the north. It is Namibia’s largest formally protected wetland area. The unfenced park forms a trans-boundary link for wildlife migration between Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. Nkasa Rupara is part of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KaZa TFCA).
Bwabwata National Park: Bwabwata is situated in the Zambezi and Kavango regions, extending along the Caprivi Strip (North-Eastern Namibia). It is bounded by the Okavango River to the west and the Kwando River to the east. The area is an important migration route from Botswana to Angola for African elephant and some other game species. The Park falls within the Tree and Shrub Savannah Biome. The main road between the towns of Rundu and Katima Mulilo, the Trans-Caprivi Highway (B8), runs through Bwabwata, linking Namibia to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A minor road (C48) dissects Mahango in a north-south direction and connects Namibia to Botswana.
Khaudom National Park: The Khaudum National Park is located in Kalahari Desert, at the west of the Caprivi Strip in the northeast – The Kavango region. It is a very remote and inaccessible reserve but is home to some magnificent animals such as the lion and the hyena.
Mangetti National Park: Mangetti National Park is a national park located in northern Namibia. The park was established in 2008 and has a size of 420 km. Situated in the eastern Kalahari woodlands about 100 km south-west of Rundu, the area was previously managed as a game camp for breeding rare and endangered species. The land was originally set aside for conservation by the Ukwangali Traditional Authority. Mangetti is part of a new generation of parks aimed at reducing rural poverty through tourism development, joint management and benefit sharing with local communities
Mudumu National Park: The National Park is situated in the Caprivi Region in north-eastern Namibia. The area is an important migration route from Botswana to Angola for large game species such as African elephant. There is no boundary fence, and Mudumu forms a crucial trans-boundary link for wildlife migration between Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. It is in the centre of Africa’s largest conservation area, the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KaZa TFCA).
Namib-Naukluft National Park: Namib-Naukluft National Park is a national park in Namibia, encompassing part of the Namib Desert and the Naukluft mountain range. The most well-known area of the park is Sossusvlei, which is the main visitor attraction in Namibia, not far from Swakopmund.
Sperregebiet National Park: The Sperrgebiet was designated as a national park in June 2004. De Beers still controls the area, but will relinquish control to the Namibian Ministry for Environment and Tourism once a management plan for the park has been completed. In April 2008, a 500-year-old shipwreck containing Iberian coins, bronze cannons, copper, and ivory was found in the Sperrgebiet. Under Namibian law, the Namibian government is entitled to all the items found on board. Today, there are several ghost towns in the Sperrgebiet, built in the late 19th century.
Twyfelfontein: One of the most famous rock engravings site in Namibia (now known as Erongo/Kunene region) where more than 2500 images have been recorded and catalogued.
Skeleton Coast Fly-In Safari
Fish River Canyon